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North Cleveland-Massillon improvements planned

9/19/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

DOWNTOWN AKRON — Work is expected to take place this fall on improvements to North Cleveland-Massillon Road in Bath.

Summit County Council adopted on first reading a resolution during the Sept. 16 meeting that allows a contract with the Shelly Co. for the resurfacing project for $1 million.

Heidi Swindell, of the Engineer’s Office, said the road would be improved from Ghent Road to Ira Road. The project will include resurfacing, shoulder widening and repair. She also noted the base layer of the road will be improved.

The county received federal funding through the Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study in the amount of $800,000 for the project and $170,000 in Ohio Public Works Commission funds, Swindell said.

She added the project is expected to begin Oct. 1 and will likely take four weeks. Lane restrictions will take place during the day, when necessary, with flaggers directing traffic.

Councilman Nick Kostandaras (D-District 1), a Richfield resident, said he’s happy to see the project scheduled.

“I’m on that road every day,” he said. “The road really, really needs resurfacing.”

Also Monday, Council paved the way for domestic partners to receive health care benefits with its adoption of an ordinance that would amend certain sections of the county’s codified ordinances to provide the benefits, as well as more clearly indicate they are available for spouses and dependents.

The vote was 8-2, with members Gloria Rodgers (R-District 3) and Bill Roemer (R-at large) against the legislation. Ilene Shapiro (D-at large) was absent because she was traveling with an Akron delegation to Omaha.

There was no discussion before the vote, but the item was talked about during the previous week’s Personnel and Intergovernmental Committee meeting, in which county officials said the main reason for the change is that benefits for domestic partners are becoming more commonly available for employees in both the public and private sectors.

A consultant estimated the county could see anywhere from $40,000 to $80,000 in additional costs to add domestic partners to the insurance rolls. The county’s health care costs are at about $31.5 million, county officials said.

For the benefits to be extended, couples will be required to sign a legally binding affidavit to prove that they are in a relationship, according to county officials.

In other business, Council adopted on first reading a resolution certifying delinquent sewer service charges for the Department of Environmental Services (DOES).

DOES Director Mike Weant said nearly $2.5 million in charges are currently delinquent, but that’s an improvement over recent years.

“We are down from last year by about $106,000,” he said.

He added that the charges, once certified, are moved onto residents’ property taxes, which are billed in January and July.

Weant said the process, which is done annually, results in a high payment rate.

“We’re collecting 98 percent of what we certify,” he said.

Also on first reading, Council adopted a resolution authorizing the county to enter into a contract with the city of Akron to provide auditing services on an as-needed basis through the county’s Internal Audit Department.

The department has been working on a project for the city, and Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic wanted to continue the relationship, according to Jason Dodson, chief of staff for County Executive Russ Pry.

Also Monday, Council adopted a motion appointing Patrick Darrow, Richard Dobbins, Laraine Duncan, Daniel Flowers, Helen Humphrys, Kyle Kutuchief, Angelina Milo, Carmen Roberto and Cazzell Smith to the current Charter Review Commission.

In addition, Council adopted a motion to appoint Jennifer Novakovic to the unclassified clerk of council position due to the departure of current clerk Faylin Mutch.

County Council will meet for committee meetings Sept. 23 at 4:30 p.m. in Council Chambers on the seventh floor of the Ohio Building, 175 S. Main St.

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